Hello fountain pen friends! Zippy here, bringing you Monday Matchup #80. For this week’s spectacular match, I chose a Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Gray with a fine nib and filled it with Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey ink. I have to admit something right off the bat- I already own this pen! I purchased it a week before this match because I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on it. I love the color gray and Metropolitans, so I just couldn’t resist.
The ink, however, was entirely new to me. In fact, I’ve never used a Caran d’Ache ink before! Since we have over 600 inks to choose from, it’s not at all difficult to overlook a certain ink or even an entire brand. It seemed like a good time to try out a new grey since I’d already used the pen. I didn’t know I was in for such a treat!
For my art work, I was inspired by my absolute hate for winter. We were just hit with a blizzard and the city of Richmond was blasted with a ridiculous amount of snow. I wasn’t able to leave my house for days! Literally. I hate being stuck thinking about all the negative things about cold and snow, so I decided to concentrate on the good things. A hearth warmed by a comfortable fire is one of my only favorite things about winter so I decided to draw that.
I grabbed a notebook, filled my pen with ink and got to work! To get started, I outlined the entire work in pencil. I took my pen and went over all the lines I’d drawn to get the basic outline of the piece. I then took a brush pen filled with water and went over the lines to give it a softer look. I quickly discovered that the ink was not at all steadfast. It spread out alarmingly wherever it touched water. This was a game changer. I realized I was going to have to approach this work differently.
The beautiful thing about the solubility of Infinite Grey was that you could make a ton of different shades. I also felt like the water/ink solution gave warmth to the fire and hearth I was creating. I decided to just go with it! For lightest shades, I simply went over the lines I’d already drawn with the brush pen filled with water, or dipped the tip of the brush pen into the cap of the ink bottle. For the darkest shades, I took an empty brush pen and dipped it directly into the ink. I was stunned by the dynamic colors created with just one ink.
As I said earlier, I love this pen. Love it. I knew what to expect and wasn’t disappointed. It was smooth and wet with a steady line. If you haven’t tried a Pilot Metropolitan, I highly suggest you give it a go. Even long time fountain pen users (like myself) find it enjoyable to write with.
Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey is a really interesting ink. I simultaneously liked and didn’t like it. The pros were that there were so many possible shades with this one ink. It could go from a light grey to almost black when laid down thickly. The cons were that when writing with it, you couldn’t get the darker shades, so it was less interesting to me. However, this could have just been the case because I was using a fine nib. You would see a lot more shading with larger nib sizes.
If I were to do this piece again, I think that I would really dive into the different shades that the ink allows and experiment with ways to give the picture more depth. I would also try to better navigate the order in which I did things because of how water soluble the ink was.
I think this combo would work great for just about anyone. The Pilot Metropolitan is an all around great writer. Since it is at an affordable price point, it works well for everyone from students to professionals. The ink would also work in any number of settings from school to business. It’s a nice play on the oh-so-serious black.
You can find the Pilot Metropolitan Retro Pop Gray fountain pen at Gouletpens.com for $15. Caran d’Ache Infinite Grey ink is available in 50ml bottles for $30 or 2ml ink samples for $1.50.
What is your favorite Pilot Metropolitan?